7. Landmarks
Since  concepts of 'Creation' and ' A Creator' are impreceptible to the senses, religious communities have always relied on icons as a stimulus or focus for prayer and meditation.  Some have argued that aesthetic experience through contact with heritage landmarks, no matter how small, can border on the religious or mystical.   It is maintained that that the experience of wild things involves "awe in the face of large, unmodified natural forces and places – such as storms, waterfalls, mountains and deserts."   Landmarks of this kind may be taken as  cosmic icons for mediation on the meaning of life and the universe. 
There is no doubt that life is carried forward because molecules of DNA, which constitute the genes, embody a coded history of life's genealogical past. In this respect we are part of nature in everything we do, from stepping on a bus to painting a house. Like all other living things our behaviour is governed by a chemical coding of our genes, which is a record of successful long-term interactions with the environments of our ancestors, near and in the distant past. It is a biochemical memory that remembers the body's responses of growth reproduction and behaviour that have been responsible for survival.
In this respect, the body of a plant, animal or microbe represents a kind of prediction that its future environmental experiences will, to a general extent, resemble those of its ancestors. Animals, especially those with brains, are particularly good survivors because the nervous system also has a remarkable picturing ability for remembering what is the most useful way of responding to short-term variations in the environment. As a computer model, the brain (hardware) and its networks of memory cells (the software) have evolved to continuously scan the environment, and use memories of good and bad responses to keep short-term survival strategies up to date.
The genes model the basic aspects of the environment that change very slowly over generations. The brain produces models of survival as day-to-day interactions between perception via the senses and a mental representation of environment that triggers the correct response. This interplay between changes in the environment and their representation as virtual images in the central nervous system allows us to move through a mental world of our brain's making, and produce neuromuscular responses that aid survival. Since brains are also products of natural selection, ancestors, near and in the distant past, also carried virtual worlds of their contemporary environments in their heads. Brains are a particular expression of DNA tasked with the role of recording lifespan-events as pictures to help predict the immediate future.
Landmarks as maps
We describe these virtual worlds as 'patterns of thought' and the process of perception that generates them as 'reading the environment'. This faculty of 'graphicity' is a vital process of comprehension. We become interested in shapes and colours that do not fit into the known. In this we prefer intriguing suggestions to actual representation. For example, a trail of footprints occurring together with disturbed vegetation and dung deposits is read intently by a hunter as the pattern of his prey. It is comprehended as a detailed mental map of events over a wide area that points to the course of action necessary if the hunt is to be successful.
According to Steven Dawkins it seems plausible that the ability to perceive the signs and generate such pictures might have arisen in our ancestors before the origin of speech in words. If the thought-picture could be represented as an arrangement of shapes and signs, constructing an environmental model in the
head is a helpful way to communicate, and coordinate what has to be done in a social group. Such mental imagery could be an educational resource to help group cohesion and promote social evolution. This seems the likely origin of art, which depends on noticing that something can be made to stand for something else in order to assist comprehension and communication. Dawkins suggests that it could have been the drawing of mind-maps in the sand that drove the expansion of human evolution beyond the critical threshold of communication that other apes just failed to cross.
It may be pertinent that ceremonial sand-pictures of native Australians function as maps. They are patterns created by an individual 'dreamer' through the two-dimensional spacing of symbols standing for people and local topographical detail. The fact that these patterns are closely associated with 'dreaming' is significant. Dreams are set up by our simulation software using the same modelling techniques used by the brain when it presents its updated editions of reality. These aboriginal maps of the dreamtime were community properties. Their role was to codify the neighbourhood and its use by the community in the form of a locally accepted non-representational pattern of relationships. The collection of pictographs reinforced the existence of a tribal territory and its natural resources by incorporating stories about its occupation by the group's ancestors.  The pictures, now being made permanent works of art on cloth and hardboard, had a social function to maintain a subculture of understanding by reinforcing comprehension of group identity and space.